The kingdom had its origins in the principality founded c. 1080 by the Rubenid dynasty, an alleged offshoot of the larger Bagratid family, which at various times had held the thrones of Armenia and Georgia. Their capital was at originally Tarsus, and later became Sis. Cilicia was a strong ally of the European Crusaders, and saw itself as a bastion of Christendom in the East.
Turkic tribes settled there, leading to the conquest of Cilicia led by Timur. As a result, 30,000 wealthy Armenians left Cilicia and settled in Cyprus, still ruled by the Lusignan dynasty until 1489. Many merchant families also fled westward and founded or joined with existing diaspora communities in France, Italy, the Netherlands,Poland, and Spain. Only the humbler Armenians remained in Cilicia. They nevertheless maintained their foothold in the region throughout Turkish rule. In the fifteenth century, Cilicia fell under Ottoman dominion and officially became known as the Adana Vilayet